Syrian refugee family bound for Petrolia waits for visa for newborn

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The Syrian family slated to make Petrolia home have been given the okay to come to Canada.

But there is a delay caused by a happy occasion. The refugee committee, sponsored by the Christ Anglican Church in Petrolia, was first expecting a family of six to come here fleeing the civil war in their country. Now, there are seven.

At first, they were expected in the spring. A house was ready. But the federal government, already dealing with resettling 25,000 Syrians, slowed the pace of immigration. The Syrians bound for Petrolia were left to wait.

At the time, spokesperson Sylvia Fairbank expected it would be the end of the summer before they would arrive.

Just last week, the family heard from the federal government that they were able to fly. But what officials didn’t know is there would be one more person.

“They had a baby son, born in June,” says Fairbank. “He has to get a visa.”

The family did register the little boy with the United Nations at birth, but wasn’t aware he needed to be registered with Canadian Immigration officials also.

Fairbank doesn’t expect the latest hurdle will take long. “It looks very positive now,” she says, adding “but I’ve been saying that since the end of February.”

Since the family is expected at any time, Fairbank is trying to find more volunteer drivers. The father will need to go to Sarnia every day for English lessons. And with a family of seven, more than one vehicle will be needed to help transport them.

Fairbank is also looking for babysitters for the children ages 7, 5, 3, 2, and the infant. Volunteers can call 519-882-0394.

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